Queensland secures 18 million Rapid Antigen Tests

Published Monday, 03 January, 2022 at 11:28 AM

Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

The Palaszczuk Government has secured 18 million State Rapid Antigen Tests to be provided free from public testing sites to people classified as close contacts. 

This includes 12 million at home tests, and almost 6 million point of care tests.

At-home Rapid Antigen Tests will be provided from public test sites, free to close contacts and Covid-19 positive people who require testing under a Public Health Direction.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the supply would support new national protocols for close contacts and front-line workforces.

“Global demand for rapid antigen test kits is significant,” the Premier said. 

“Securing an extra 12 million at-home tests for Queensland will help us meet demand as we transition to the new nationally agreed isolation and testing requirements for close contacts. The additional supplies will arrive over coming weeks.”

There will be a gradual shift to augment PCR with RAT tests for close contacts as supplies increase in line with the agreement at National Cabinet on a new definition for close contacts who will be required to have an immediate RAT test and isolate for 7 days with an additional RAT test on Day 6. 

Under the changes, COVID-19 positive cases now isolate for 7 days. 

“We know the transition to RAT tests for close contacts will reduce some of the pressure we have seen at testing clinics in recent weeks, ensuring those with symptoms can be tested sooner,” the Premier said.

These RAT tests will arrive in smaller numbers over the coming week or so, with a large volume expected in late January. 

Queenslanders with COVID-19 symptoms should continue to attend a Queensland Health or private testing centre to undertake a PCR test.

The Premier said the additional 12 million RAT test kits were in addition to Queensland Health’s stockpile of almost 6 million point of care RATs for use within the hospital system.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the best advice for Queenslanders remains to get vaccinated.

“We continue to see a rapid rise in cases across the State, but we know that the best protection against severe disease and hospitalisation is to get vaccinated and have your booster when you are able to,” the Minister said.

“Walk in vaccination centres are continuing to operate right across the state and Queensland children aged 5 – 11 years can access the vaccine from 10 January.”